Two Years in the Blogosphere

Two years ago this weekend, I started this blog.

WHOA.

Time sure does fly, doesn’t?

For the most part, I’ve loved writing here 🙂  It’s been fun, it’s been happy, it’s been therapeutic.  I’ve laughed, I’ve smiled, I’ve cried.  Sometimes I get in a groove and write daily fora while; sometimes it seems like more of a chore and I step away from it for awhile.  But I’m still SO happy I did it (and plan on doing so for a long time)!

One of the coolest and most unexpected things that’s happened as a result of sharing the happy on this blog is that it’s allowed me to connect with people in a new and different way.  Some of them I know, some I don’t. Some are my oldest friends, some are schoolmates or former colleagues I haven’t seen in years.  From talking with some of these folks, it’s become clear that this space is no longer just for me, but for others, as well – whether it’s just for fun or because they need some extra happy in their lives, too.

As a fun reflection, I took a look back at my writings and pulled some of my favorite posts.  If you’ve missed any of them or want to check them out again, click the links below.

(And yes, I know there’s a lot of them.  I have a lot of faves.  Don’t have time to read them all?  Bookmark the page and come back to it later 🙂 )

Thank you too all who follow along (and welcome, to anyone who’s here for the first time)!  I look forward to continuing to share the happy 🙂

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Cheers!

SMR

 

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The Innocence of a Child and the Power of a Hug

I remember reading about this story when it first came out last year, but I LOVE the follow-up piece that CBS Sunday Morning did this week. 

A small girl was in the grocery store with her mom when she randomly decided to strike up a conversation with an elderly gentleman.  She ended up giving him a hug and asking for a photo with him. 

Little did she know that this man had been in a long depression after losing his wife.  That little interaction turned his life around, and they now have a great friendship 🙂  

Click the link below to see the heartwarming story. 

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/a-chance-encounter-brings-a-new-purpose-in-life/?ftag=CNM-00-10aab6i&linkId=32923793
Cheers!

SMR

New Year and a New Challenge for Me AND You

Happy 2017, y’all! 🙂  I sincerely hope all you readers, friends, and family had a wonderful holiday season.

Last year certainly had it’s highlights, but I’m particularly excited for this upcoming year.  Why, you may ask?  Because I am more energized and excited than ever before to FIND the happy and SHARE the happy with as many people as I can.

My goal is to post something every day – whether it’s a reflection or writing of my own, a new story, a fun photo, a yummy recipe, YouTube clips that make me smile, etc etc etc 🙂

What I would LOVE to happen next is for this journey to find the happy spread to others!

You know the saying, “Smile and be kind to everyone you see, for anyone could be fighting some kind of battle”?  I fully believe this.  And it’s important to remember that not everyone’s battle is the same – some people may have just had  huge screaming match with a loved one, others are fighting cancer, and yet others may just feel ‘blah’ at the moment.

So – my 2017 challenge to myself is to find the happy and write the happy every day.

My challenge to YOU is this:  If you find a post particularly fun or smile-inducing, share it with someone.

  • Send them a link to the blog
  • Forward the email (if you subscribe to get posts directly to your inbox – see the sign-up in the side menu)
  • Re-tweet the link (SURPRISE! meandmytiara is heading to the Twitter-verse)
  • Share a post or tag someone in a post from the Facebook page 

Bottom line?  SHARE THE HAPPY, people.  Let’s do this…for ourselves and for others around us 🙂

I’ve been in Honduras for the past week accompanying my husband on a tour, and here’s a pretty cool dude I captured this morning – a Collared Aracari, a member of the toucan family.

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Cheers!

SMR

DWTS Faves, Vol 2

One of my favorite TV shows, “Dancing With The Stars”, is between seasons.  Bummerrrr.

I did a post a couple months ago about some of my DWTS favorite dances (click here to see that post).

Here are a few more to enjoy!

James Hinchcliffe (IndyCar driver), Sharna Burgess, & Jenna Johnson – Trio Jive

Amber Riley & Derek Hough – Freestyle

Alek Skarlatos & Lindsay Arnold – Freestyle

Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough – Bhangra

Really Good Recipes – Spicy Turkey Meatballs

I love when I try a new recipe and it turns out to be DELISH – don’t you?  I’ve decided to share some of my faves here in the blogosphere.

I can’t take credit for finding this one – thanks Mom! – but I’ve changed it a bit from the original Ina Garten recipe on the Food Network website so it fits my tastes and pantry contents.

It’s soooooo good.  Seriously.  Ridiculously yummy.

Give it a try and enjoy!

Spicy Turkey Meatballs

  • 2 cups plain panko bread crumbs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 pounds ground turkey (85%-92% lean)
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian pork sausage
  • 4-6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped (at least 4 oz…but sometimes we include a bit more 🙂 )
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1.5 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Olive oil, for brushing the meatballs
  • If needed, 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Marinara sauce (we love Rao’s)
  • Pasta, if you want (we usually don’t do this and instead go for some good crusty bread)

NOTE – If you can, refrigerate the meat mixture for at least an hour before forming into meatballs and baking.  The flavors get even friendlier with each other 🙂

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

Put bread crumbs in a small bowl and add the milk. Set aside for 5 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey, sausage, prosciutto, bread mixture (after having sat for 5 min), Parmesan, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Lightly combine the ingredients with your hands. Add the already-beaten eggs, and stir lightly with a fork to combine.  If the mixture looks too dry, add some olive oil (no more than a tablespoon or two).

As noted above, if you can, cover and let the meat mixture sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour, do it.  If not, keep going – they’ll still be great!

With your hands, lightly roll the mixture into 1.5-inch (ish) meatballs and place them on the prepared sheet pans. Brush the tops of the meatballs with olive oil.

Bake for 18ish minutes, then check them with meat thermometer to see how cooking is coming along (needs minimum temp of 165 degrees F).

When the meatballs are cooked through, remove from sheet pan.  You can either put them in a bowl and top with sauce or put them into a pot with warmed pasta sauce, then serve – your call.

Bon appetite! 🙂

Cheers,

SMR

Find Out Who Your Friends Are

I laughed a bit at myself today when I realized how often I write about music here.

I think that’s happened for several reasons.  First, I grew up with music.  It was on in our house, in the car, at my grandparents’ house, everywhere.  We went to musicals and other theater shows, I was in choir for awhile, I played the violin and piano for several years, etc.  It’s just part of me.

I also find that I both channel emotions through  and associate emotions with music.  For every mood I have, for many memories I have, for many people in my life, there’s a song that comes to mind.  Examples:

  • Feeling joy?  “Can’t Stop The Feeling”, Justin Timberlake
  • Feeling zen?  Kenny G, Chris Botti, Joshua Bell, Yo-Yo Ma
  • Feeling angry/rage-y?  “Break Stuff”, Limp Bizkit
  • Remembering my grandparents’ house?  anything by Nat King Cole
  • Celebrating an anniversary with my husband? “Wonderful World”, Louis Armstrong
  • Road trips with my sister?  “Lifestyles of the Rich & the Famous”, Good Charlotte
  • Dancing on stage with a friend at my wedding?  “Save a Horse, Ride A Cowboy”, Big & Rich
  • Getting thru some of the most challenging?  “Stand”, Rascal Flatts
  • Missing people I’ve lost?  “One Sweet Day”, Mariah Carey

This week at work, I’m listening to cancer patients talk about their journey and their attitudes towards their treatment and outlook on life.  One of the ladies we heard today said that through her journey, she ‘really found out who her friends are’.

While that notion kind of sucks – that sometimes “friends” aren’t really friends when you’re battling day after day the beast that is cancer – I actually smiled, because that’s a song that I associate with a very special friend of mine.  She and I carpooled to work for several years before I moved, and we always enjoyed that song (and sang it!) together.

If you haven’t heard it, check it out in the YouTube link below.

“Find Out Who Your Friends Are” – Tracy Lawrence

Run your car off the side of the road
Get stuck in a ditch way out in the middle of nowhere
Get yourself in a bind, lose the shirt off your back
Need a floor, need a couch, need a bus fare

This is where the rubber meets the road
This is where the cream is gonna rise
This is what you really didn’t know
This is where the truth don’t lie

You find out who your friends are
Somebody’s gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas get their fast
Never stop to think ‘what’s in it for me?’ or ‘it’s way too far.’
They just show on up with their big old heart
You find out who you’re friends are

Everybody wants to slap your back
Wants to shake your hand
When you’re up on top of that mountain
But let one of those rocks give way then you slide back down look up
And see who’s around then

This ain’t where the road comes to an end
This ain’t where the bandwagon stops
This is just one of those times when
A lot of folks jump off

You find out who your friends are
Somebody’s gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas get there fast
Never stop to think ‘what’s in it for me?’ or ‘it’s way too far.’
They just show on up with that big old heart
You find out who you’re friends are

When the water’s high
When the weather’s not so fair
When the well runs dry
Who’s gonna be there?

You find out who your friends are
Somebody’s gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas get there fast
Never stop to think ‘what’s in it for me?’ or ‘it’s way too far.’
They just show on up with their big old heart
You find out who you’re friends are.